Sweet Equations Owner Sade Owoye recently shared her experience as a Greater Hartford small business owner with MetroHartford Content Manager Nan Price.
NAN PRICE: When and why did you start your business?
SADE OWOYE: I started my business in 2014. I am obsessed with candy, cakes, and basically all things sweet. One holiday season, I topped a slice of vanilla cake with a few chocolate-coated candies and realized that cake is even better with a touch of candy. My family loved the creation I made.
My brother posted it on his social media, and it took off. I started to receive orders for the cake he posted online. With inspiration and a bit of gusto, I started my business of designing delicious and decadent cakes topped with classic candies. I am a firm believer that cakes and dessert should be fun and comprised of the sweets that bring you joy!
NAN: How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
SADE: I took cake decorating classes in my free time. I watched videos on how to make frosting and bake cakes. I also practiced a lot on my own.
For running the business, I took MBA classes at a local university as well as classes online about the fundamentals of business. I enjoy business and learning about all aspects of it.
NAN: How did you decide on the location for your business? Tell us about the neighborhood and what makes it unique.
SADE: The Hartford area has so much to offer the people living and working in the community. I saw there was an opportunity to open a specialty dessert shop in Farmington, as there was not one in the area, especially a store that specializes in candy cakes and provides cake decorating classes.
Hartford is a great community. Its residents and people who work in area are supportive. I received an outpouring of support and well wishes when I opened the first Sweet Equations retail location in 2018.
NAN: What is the best thing about living/working in Greater Hartford?
SADE: There are many great things to do in the area, and you don’t have to travel far to do them! There are beautiful parks and trails, delicious restaurants, fun festivals and concerts, professional groups, outdoor activities, and baseball games—and my list could go on and on.
NAN: How are you marketing and building a successful customer base?
SADE: I’m building a base by always putting our customers first and listening to what they want. At Sweet Equations, we’re always looking for feedback from our customers and we take action on the feedback we receive. We work to implement it into the business. We will change or pivot the business to collectively better serve our customers.
NAN: What key elements are necessary to start and run a successful business in Hartford?
SADE: I believe some key elements include:
- Having an understanding of the fundamentals of operating a business
- Being active in the Hartford community and having a support system
- Leveraging digital as well as other platforms to market, promote, and generate awareness about your business in the community
NAN: Where do you see Hartford in the three to five years? And where do you see your role in the city’s progress?
SADE: I see Hartford as the economic engine of the state with more businesses and people moving back into the area in the next few years. As a business owner, my goal is to grow my business, which I believe could help the city’s progress. I hope to bring more jobs and opportunity to the Hartford area as Sweet Equations matures as a company.